Williams v. State, 6 Div. 717

Decision Date17 July 1979
Docket Number6 Div. 717
Citation377 So.2d 634
PartiesJohn Knight WILLIAMS v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

George P. Seabourne, Birmingham, for appellant.

Charles A. Graddick, Atty. Gen. and Thomas R. Allison, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.


Robbery; sentence: life imprisonment.

Around 11:30 a. m. on April 26, 1977, the prosecutrix, an employee of Photo-Hut in Dora, Alabama, received a telephone call from an unknown caller inquiring about employment. She gave the caller her name. Later that day around 3:15 p. m. she received a second call and was told that she was going to be robbed and if she cooperated no one would be hurt. She was told that someone was watching her and she had better do exactly as told or she would never see her husband or children again. Her life was also threatened. The caller informed the prosecutrix that he had a woman and her child held hostage. He allowed her to talk with the hostage, wherein the woman hysterically pled with the prosecutrix to do exactly as the caller demanded. (The appellant later admitted to the police that he had disguised his voice to sound like a woman.) The prosecutrix was told to take the money from the cash drawer, a camera, film and flashbulbs from the shop, and her portable television set and put them in her car. She was directed to disconnect her C.B. radio unit and place it in the car trunk.

The prosecutrix informed the caller that there was not enough gasoline in her car to drive to Birmingham. She was then told to stop at a particular service station, buy exactly $7 worth of gasoline and proceed immediately to the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Birmingham. Upon arrival, she was to park at a designated spot, keep the engine running, unlock the right front door, get out and stand beside the car, then reenter it and wait for a man to approach and get in. She did exactly as told.

The prosecutrix identified the voice of the caller as that of the appellant. She likewise identified the man who entered her car at the bus terminal as being the appellant. She testified that after the appellant entered her car, he told her that he had a gun in his pocket. He then pulled a knife, opened it, put it to her throat, and told her that he would hate to mess up her face if she did not do exactly as told. He told her to drive toward Atlanta, Georgia. However, a short distance past Irondale, Alabama, he ordered her to pull off the road onto another road leading into a secluded wooded area near a cemetery. There, the appellant forced the prosecutrix to pose nude for some photographs and forced her to perform the act of sodomy.

When the prosecutrix told the appellant that if she did not pick up her husband at 6:00 p. m. he would call the police, she was instructed to return to the Greyhound terminal. After arriving, the appellant left the car taking the camera, film, flashbulbs, and money with him. He was later arrested in Louisiana and transported back to Jefferson County where he was subsequently tried and convicted for robbery.


Appellant contends that the "one-for-one" jury strike system in Jefferson County violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article IV, § 105, of the Alabama Constitution. The "one-for-one" strike system is found in § 714, Vol. 14, Appendix, Code of Ala.1940, Recompiled 1958. In counties of less than 400,000 population, the law provides for a "two-for-one" strike system in favor of the defendant pursuant to § 12-16-100, Code of Ala.1975.

All statutes of a public, general, and permanent nature not included in the 1975 Code were repealed; however, local statutes, or acts applying to political subdivisions of the state on the basis of population were not repealed. Section 1-1-10, Code of Ala.1975. Thus, the "one-for-one" jury strike system in Jefferson County was not repealed by the 1975 Code, and we have consistently held for forty years that it is not unconstitutional. Liptroth v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 335 So.2d 683 (1976), cert. denied, Ala., 335 So.2d 688. Likewise, contrary to appellant's assertions, Peddycoart v. City of Birmingham, Ala., 354 So.2d 808 (1978), has no application here. Peddycoart, at p. 814, expressly states that it has only prospective application.


The appellant contends the trial court erred in refusing his requested charge on the lesser included offense of larceny: "The Court charges the jury that an indictment for robbery also embraces the charge of larceny."

A defendant charged with robbery is not entitled to an instruction regarding the lesser included offense of larceny where the only reasonable conclusion from the evidence is that the defendant is guilty of robbery or no crime at all. Turner v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 356 So.2d 235, cert. denied, Ala., 356 So.2d 237 (1978); Impson v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 331 So.2d 837 (1976).

The appellant, testifying in his own behalf, emphatically denied accompanying the victim anywhere except to the bus depot cafeteria. He denied threatening her, placing her in fear, or robbing her. Yet, appellant asserts, for the first time on appeal, that the essential element of fear was absent when the property was removed from the prosecutrix. He in effect contends that he did not commit the crime; however, if he did, it was larceny only. On the other hand, the prosecutrix testified that she followed the appellant's instructions because of fear of harm to her husband and children, the alleged hostages, and to herself. On cross-examination, conducted by the appellant himself, the victim clearly stated that she feared bodily harm to herself.

A defendant is likewise not entitled to charges on lesser included offenses when he denied committing the crime itself. Parker v. State, Ala.Cr.App., 337 So.2d 1378 (1976). We therefore conclude that the trial court did not err in refusing the appellant's requested charge on the lesser included offense of larceny.


The appellant claims that his statement given to police on June 15, 1977, was inadmissible due to promises made by the interrogating officer in two telephone conversations with the appellant some six weeks prior to the interrogation in question. The two telephone conversations in question took place one day after the robbery. The appellant telephoned Officer Albert Wallace of the Birmingham Police Department and posed as an attorney from Washington, D.C., supposedly representing the appellant. The appellant then discussed the robbery with Officer Wallace on behalf of his supposed client.

Officer Wallace testified that at the time of the telephone conversations he did not know the identity of the caller other than the fictitious name given to him by the appellant. Further, although Wallace thought it "a little bit unusual" for a person to call about working out a deal in an alleged crime, he did not connect the appellant to the telephone conversations until after taking his statements six weeks later on June 15.

The two telephone conversations in question took place on April 27, 1977. We have reviewed those conversations and find that the first one revealed nothing relevant to the appellant's contentions on appeal. In the second conversation, the only semblance of a promise made by Officer Wallace was in regard to postponing the filing of charges against the appellant until the supposed attorney contacted the district attorney's office in Birmingham. Charges were not filed against the appellant until May 2, 1977. However, this has no impact on the subsequent inculpatory statement of June 15. Further, throughout the second telephone conversation, Officer Wallace did no more than state that he would recommend certain action to the district attorney, yet he clearly indicated the ultimate decision in the case was for the district attorney's office to make.

In the April 27 telephone conversations, Officer Wallace was attempting to persuade the supposed attorney to give him the name of the perpetrator of the instant robbery. He discussed with the supposed attorney the possibility of the appellant being committed to a mental institution in the Washington, D.C., area rather than going through the extradition process bringing the supposed client back to Alabama and then finding that his mental condition would require commitment to a mental institution in this state.

From reviewing the transcripts of the April 27 telephone conversations, it is clear that Officer Wallace thought he was discussing possible courses of action with an...

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    ...'A defendant is likewise not entitled to charges on lesser included offenses when he denied committing the crime itself.' Williams v. State, 377 So.2d 634, 637 (Ala.Crim.App.), cert. denied, Ex parte Williams, 377 So.2d 639 "In Cook v. State, 431 So.2d 1322 at 1325 (Ala.1983), this Court no......
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